Find a Publisher for Your Nonfiction Book (Part 7)

If you clear the first hurdle to getting your book published — surviving the initial review — your proposal will receive more serious consideration by an acquisitions editor.

This is the person who will present your proposal to the publishing board, answering their questions and responding to any objections. To get your book published, you need the acquisitions editor to present a convincing case.

To turn an acquisitions editor into a strong advocate for your proposal, give him or her everything needed to make an outstanding presentation to the publishing board.

Acquisitions editors love a well-constructed proposal that makes it easier to for them to prepare to meet the publishing board.

This includes:

● a great title and subtitle

● a book description that offers an accurate and compelling snapshot of the manuscript

● a depiction of the target audience — and tailoring every element to match that

● demonstrating how you will take ownership for marketing the book

Two People to Convince

The key publishing board members the acquisitions editor has to convince that your book is worthy:

● the marketing director

● the accountant

The marketing director needs to be convinced the book will connect with a significant audience. Evidence includes more than the title and content; it’s also about the author’s platform — his or her established audience. Increasingly, the question is what the author can and will do to build that audience.

The accountant wants to know that the book is likely to provide a significant return on investment. Publishing is a business, with people’s livelihoods on the line. The acquisitions editor needs to convince the accountant that the book will be good for the company’s bottom line.

In Their Shoes

Try to think like a publisher. In your proposal, provide all the requested information. If you appreciate why the publisher needs the information, you can write to persuade.

Think like a publisher, equip your acquisitions editor to make a great presentation, and you are likely to gain a powerful advocate for your proposal.

Kevin Scott is acquisitions editor at Wesleyan Publishing House, where he coaches first-time and experienced authors through the acquisitions and editorial process. Kevin also writes essays about sustainable Christianity at

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